The Flash: Starting Line Review


It’s been a while since I read a comic, especially a Flash one so it was good to see the ole speedster back in action. It’s a fairly modern one too so we get to blast through the origin stuff and get right to the adventures. The Rogues get a solid revival and quite a bit happens here. The story sets up a lot of future plot lines that’ll keep on going for some time so this line is off to a good start.

While each issue has a different villain for the most part there is still a larger plot in the background. The Flash used to be a very well liked figure in Central City but lately people have been turning against him. The cops think he is a wild vigilante who causes more harm than good and the reporters are all trying to frame him. One of Barry’s best friends even betrays him to run a social experiment. The guy has a point that they weren’t all that close though. Only Barry really took it hard while to the friend it was just good business. It’s why you certainly have to be careful on who you trust because some will turn around and back-stab you quite quickly.

It always makes for an interesting plot to see everyone turning on the Flash or whoever the hero of the adventure is. It’s annoying too as you can easily lose respect for these characters. The fact of the matter is that the Flash has saved all of these guys time and time again. It’s a bit late in the game for people to say that they’re better off without him. I could never comprehend the argument of the hero attracting trouble. If Flash wasn’t around then the city would have been destroyed many times over. You need a super hero when it comes to tricky cities like this. Otherwise the villains will just have their way. You also can’t do much better than the Flash. With his speed there is always a chance that you can be saved.

The first main arc deals with Mob Rule a lot. One of Barry’s old friends went missing one day. He has returned, but seems to now be a villainous sniper who is way in over his head. Barry tries to talk with him about this, but it’s a complicated situation. Some experiments were done on Manuel and now every time he is injured or a part of him is severed it turns into a whole other him. Now they are an army known as Mob Rule and they want to find a cure. The downside to having all of these clones is that they die after a few days. They kidnap Manuel and work on a bunch of cures but nothing is working and the group is getting more and more radical. Barry has to try and get Manuel out of this while he still can.

It’s more of a mystery thriller than the other Flash stories. Not only is the mob pretty discreet and hard to stop, but Flash has also been creating a lot of temporal anomalies lately so he is’t sure if he should be running full blast. I’m not a fan of Manuel though. He does seem to start a lot of the trouble which gets him into these sticky situations. He’s also quite quick to ditch Barry which puts him in a lot of danger. Finally the guy had no real gratitude to the Flash for saving him. Somehow he did the mental gymnastics of saying that it’s Flash’s fault that the cure didn’t work when it was obviously about to destroy him anyway. Everyone was really giving the Flash a hard time throughout the whole series.

The other big arc in the series saw the return of Captain Cold. He blames the Flash for the big blackout which prevented the hospital from helping his sister out when she was in critical condition. He now wants the Flash dead so their fights are a little more serious than usual. Flash just got done dealing with a crazy guy in the Speed Force who was messing things up so he doesn’t have a lot of time to worry about this. Captain Cold’s new freezing abilities make him much more of a serious threat than he used to be though. The fact that he naturally makes the Flash slower is quite handy in a fight. We also get to see the rest of the Rogues show up as they banded together under a new leader known as the Golden Glider. She wants the Rogues to be a purely evil group as opposed to what she considered to be weak tactics under Cold’s leadership.

They’ve got a very different approach on how to run a group. Cold believes that having an honor code is best and he does seem better equipped to be a leader. It is hard to keep that level of nuance while you’re a villain group though. I don’t see most villains really playing ball for very long. Most of them are in this business to murder the heroes and civilians. Captain Cold also isn’t a strong enough fighter to keep them in check. He was having trouble with Heatwave who isn’t exactly known as a powerhouse. Regardless, he does have a lot of experience and credibility though so people tend to listen to him. Golden Glider’s leadership was fairly short lived although I doubt her ambitions are over for now.

I mentioned him briefly before, but Turbine is a guy who was stuck in the SpeedForce for decades. I really don’t blame him for trying to get out. Flash guilt trips him because Turbine’s attempts for hurting the planet, but what else could he do? The Flash can’t reasonably expect this guy to just stay stuck for his whole life right? Turbine seems like he’s going to end up turning evil, but at least right now he seems pretty reasonable to me. The guy just wants to get home and Flash seemed to have absolutely no sympathy for him.

Meanwhile Iris gets a smaller role than usual as there is a new heroine around. This has allowed Iris to get her own plots away from Barry though. She’s now more of a detective/reporter like Lois Lane to the point where I’m sure they’re basing this interpretation on the iconic DC character. She’s an interesting character and this is probably her best portrayal. I think there’s a lot the series can do with her so hopefully she doesn’t go back with Barry. Patty is the new character involved with Barry and she seems reasonable. The relationship doesn’t seem too stable though since she can’t stand the Flash. Whenever the heroine doesn’t like the hero form you can’t help but think that things won’t really end well. That’s just too big of a split to remedy since the hero has to break the news at some point right? At least she does seem quite loyal when Barry is around and does her best to help him out. Patty has connections and skills in her own right so she can contribute quite a lot when it comes to detective work and solving cases.

There’s a whole plot with Gorilla Grodd which serves as his origin. It’s the least interesting part of the volume although it’s not like it’s bad or anything. I just can’t bring myself to care about them at the moment and the Flash getting amnesia felt incredibly convenient since otherwise he could have gotten out of there pretty easily. They’re clearly going to have a big role soon so we’ll see how that goes. I’ve never been impressed with Grodd’s strength even if he is technically considered to be one of Flash’s deadliest opponents. Give me the Rogues any day.

I basically talked about everyone except Barry so let’s take a step back here. Flash is a solid lead who does deal with some issues at the beginning but ultimately gets past them. He realizes that his speed is necessary to saving the world and stops overthinking things. He’s trying to learn how to speed up his mind as well and once he does this he should really be a super powerful hero. The Flash is already one of the strongest characters in DC if you ask me so if I were the writers I would make it take a super long time for Flash to actually master this technique. It’s effectively Ultra Instinct in the DC world. Barry’s always been my favorite Flash because he’s also got those detective skills on top of his super powers and he’s a very reasonable guy. His Barry Allen persona is simply interesting and the comic did a good job of showing that off.

The artwork is also pretty solid here. It may not be the most colorful I’ve seen, but it holds its own pretty well. I like the speed effects and there’s a lot of weight behind each hit. There was a good amount of effort put into the artwork for sure and it shows. It’s part of what makes this an easy read along with the quality writing. You’ll be drawn into the pages and ready for the next adventures to come.

Overall, This is a pretty solid collection of comics. The best issues are the ones where Flash is dealing with the Rogues and going undercover in the shady part of town. The Grodd stuff is less interesting but the comic does use him for a good cliffhanger. You can’t help but feel like Flash should wreck them all as soon as he wakes up so their gameplan should be to destroy him while he is still knocked out. If you haven’t checked this comic out yet then I’d recommend reading it. There are a lot of other plot lines going on that I haven’t even mentioned. While there are references to earlier comics you don’t really need to read them to get what is going on.

Overall 7/10

Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: The Flash Review


It’s time to look at one of the newest Lego films around! DC has had a pretty good track record with their Lego adventures and are certainly leading the pack. This is because their specials actually have some pretty solid action scenes to go along with the good one liners. I dare say that DC has taken Legos to the peak of where they can reach and this one continues their roll. It still has some competition ahead of it for being the best DC specials, but I would put this one up there as probably top 3. Flash makes for a great main character and always makes the right moves.

The story starts with the Justice League trying to fend off an attack from the Joker. Unfortunately for them they are getting creamed. Flash should have been there to help, but he was busy enjoying a donut with a milkshake. Truly that is an underrated combo if you ask me. Still, he manages to save the day anyway, but then a mysterious being known as the Reverse Flash shows up. Flash chases him, but finds himself back to the start of the day. This keeps on happening and it seems like Flash is stuck in a time loop. In order to get out he will have to move even faster, but what if doing this ends up wrecking reality itself!? Only one way to find out!

I’m always up for a good time travel story. Nowadays this usually goes hand in hand with the Flash and his story arcs. Flashpoint is probably the most well known Flash event of all time and then the TV show also likes to casually mess around with the past and the future. It makes for good story arcs that open up a lot of moral questions like should you change the past or simply ignore it. Typically they go for the worst possible moral though and that is that the past shouldn’t be altered. Fortunately, it’s safe to say that this special doesn’t really go there at all. The trope can be especially annoying when the villain changed the past first and the hero still isn’t able to go back and correct it. A bit off topic though so lets get back to the adventure.

I do like how Flash handled the situation though. He kept on going after the Reverse Flash because he knew that one day he would surpass his limits. Even though Batman kept telling him to wait Flash would go anyway. The montage showed that he probably tries this at least 50 times. Imagine living through the same day that many times and not going crazy. Flash really kept it together and in the end he made the right move since Batman’s great advice was simply to say “Run faster.” That’s really the best advice that Batman’s got? Flash was able to do it of course, but after Batman’s constant “Wait” moments I was expecting something else. Still, Flash was easily the best character here and that’s not easy to do in a special where Batman and Superman are present.

In the other plot we have Reverse Flash proving to the world that he is a better hero than the normal Flash. Instead of trying to join the League or anything like that he spends his time trying to prove that they aren’t needed anymore. With the speed at which he solves crimes it may even appear to be true. If he were a legitimate hero then he would have a mild point, but of course he would run out of energy at some point so the league would have to step in again. It’s fun how he makes everyone look pretty petty at times like when the League was caught eaves dropping on him. Batman saved the situation from being a tragedy, but it still was not their greatest moment. Ah well, they did their best.

As far as the Justice League goes, they were all in character. Batman and Superman were a great contrast to each other as you would expect. Superman was super cheerful and would try being nice to Flash while Batman would just give him the tough facts. Wonder Woman was more of a mediator and Cyborg was busy messing everything up like usual. Likewise with Plasticman but to a greater extent. The new member of the group who got a lot of screen time was the Atom. If they wanted him to look terrible than they succeeded.

Considering that he is a new recruit the guy seems to have a considerable ego. He complains quite a lot and you have to repeatedly wonder how he actually got on the team. The guy definitely doesn’t seem like he belongs, but I guess that’s just one of those mysteries that you have to think about for a little while. He gets a subplot of his own where he tries to contact the league while he’s tiny and it’s a treacherous journey for him. I’d like to say that it helped him get likable by the end but not really. At this rate the new recruits are all going to keep on losing out.

I will say that the first half of the special does beat the latter though. I enjoyed the Groundhog shenanigans from the beginning as Flash kept trying to stop his evil doppelganger. His route to the trouble involving all of the food and villain arrests were fun as well. The movie accurately shows just how overpowered the Flash should be and since it’s part comedy they are actually able to pull this off instead of totally nerfing him. That’s not to say that the second half is bad, but Dr. Fate singalongs just don’t have the same appeal you know? It was definitely a radically different take on him, but at least it had personality. Dr. Fate usually doesn’t actually do much except get in everyone’s way. I do feel bad for Zatanna though since her training seems like it will take a very long time to actually get anywhere.

There’s not much to say about the animation that hasn’t been said before. It’s Lego animation so it’s pretty much the same every time. I’m not a huge fan of it, but it looks well enough and at this point it’s pretty polished. The action scenes are still solid as I mentioned earlier and they did a good job with the speed animations. As far as I’m concerned, they put in the proper amount of effort there. There isn’t much of a noticeable soundtrack here so it’s a few steps behind some of the others, but the sound effects are good and what music we do get tends to be solid as well.

The writing is on point which is always very important for a film like this one. The humor is actually good as opposed to just being obnoxious or annoying. Well, those two things are kind of the same I guess. Either way, the writing really understands the characters here. Cyborg and Atom are annoying, but it’s not necessarily the humor that makes them annoying, but the characters and I wouldn’t hold that against the writing since I’m pretty sure that it’s intentional. It may not be laugh out loud funny (Almost nothing is) but it works pretty well and the sarcastic wit from the heroes is part of the charm behind the Legos.

Overall, The Flash is a solid movie and one that I would certainly recommend. Whether you are a fan of Lego adventures or comic book films this is one title that you don’t want to miss. It really pulls out all of the stops and each act of the film feels like a complete film. Honestly the first act alone could have worked as the whole movie and I would have been satisfied. It’s a long 70ish minutes, but not in a bad way. They manage to squeeze a lot of content in there so I’d say that it’s actually very fast paced. There really isn’t anything majorly negative to say about the film and that’s how you know that it’s quite solid.

Overall 8/10